We live in fast times.
Modern society can seem like a perpetual rat race and we ultimately suffer for it. The stress from our way of life has consequences which can have a catastrophic effect on your mental and physical health.
Let's take a look at a typical day in the life.
On a typical workday we rush out the door, often neglecting breakfast, only to sit in bumper-to-bumper traffic on the way to work. Once we get there, we cram a lot into an eight hour (If we're lucky) day. We are continually stressed with deadlines, goals and endless meetings. Sometime we get to take a lunch break. Other times, we have to work through lunch or rush out to pickup some fast food. While at work, we are always being watched, monitored and then coached on how we can perform better and more efficiently. We are ultimately measured and evaluated based on metrics, criteria and key performance indicators that someone at corporate that we've never met before and who doesn't understand what we do came up with.
After work, we have to face the dreaded traffic-heavy commute home. When we finally get home the stress doesn't end. Now we have to think about soccer practice, dinner, dishes, homework, baths, putting kids to bed, planning for the next day, etc. Then it's wash, rinse, repeat every day!
Ultimately we try to do too much in a short amount of time. It's no wonder that we have become walking buckets of stress! Think about it. We have become a culture of dates and appointments, tasks, Outlook & Google Calendars, reminder apps...and let's not forget Siri and Alexa!
This way of life is not sustainable. Not if we want to be healthy and happy. I think its high time that we simplify our lives and learn to live for now, in the present moment. We can accomplish this by simply letting go and living in the flow of life.
In the Taoist philosophy, the concept of "Wu-wei" is the art of "not doing", or "going with the flow". Wu-Wei is the understanding of nature and the way things are.
Nature does a tremendous amount --eroding mountains, growing forests, making rivers-- all of this is accomplished effortlessly.
"Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished."
- The Tao Te Ching
Nature doesn't stress, so why should we?
What does it mean to live in the present moment?
It means getting out of your own head and not letting your thoughts control you.
It means letting go of the past and releasing it forever.
It means that you have stopped chasing that dangling carrot (whatever that is for you) and you are content, grateful and at peace with your place in life.
How can you begin living in the present moment?
You can begin by letting go of your past and not worrying about the future. Practice mindfulness and daily meditation. Observe with judging and most importantly, don't worry. You may not be able to change your circumstance immediately, but you can change the way that you are living within your current circumstances and environment. You can slow that hamster wheel down.
The next time you're stuck in traffic on the way to work, take a deep and conscious breathe. Do a mini-mediation at a stoplight. Never focus on what you perceive to be the negative aspects of your situation. Focusing on the negative brings more negative. You've got to change your perception if you want to change your reality.
Most importantly, take some time for yourself and by all means...take a lunch break! Fear and stress are "paper tigers". They are not real. What is real is the present moment. Now is all there is, so stop and smell the roses.